PLAID Cymru-controlled Aberystwyth Town Council has been accused of “taking advantage of a young woman’s death” after parachuting in a defeated Plaid candidate to replace a young Liberal Democrat councillor who tragically died just weeks after May’s election.
Last year’s Plaid mayor, Brendan Somers, who had represented Central ward since 2014, lost his seat after deciding to stand for the Rheidol ward instead in the election on 4 May, but finished sixth.
He was co-opted back on to the council after a secret ballot at a meeting last Monday.
He has replaced Emily Price, who died aged just 22 a few weeks after winning the election for Central ward, where the Liberal Democrats swept the board – returning councillors to all three available seats.
Despite the Liberal Democrats putting forward a replacement councillor in Bryony Davies, the Plaid-controlled council opted to vote through a swift return for the defeated mayor.
Liberal Democrat councillor Michael Chappell said the move by Plaid councillors “flies in the face of everything Emily worked so hard to achieve before her life was cut tragically short.”
It is the second time Cllr Somers has been co-opted onto the council by fellow councillors rather than by voters.
Speaking before councillors voted, Cllr Somers said: “I regret the circumstances that created this position... but it’s happened and we have to move on.”